Chances are, if you’ve raced Hot Wheels before, you’ve heard of the infamous “Huffman Stocker” before. Rarely does anyone call this one-off release by its packaged name of Chevy Stocker as Hot Wheels already had a very similar casting by that name at the time of this release … it was released up until a couple years ago. This was the #First Edition (and only) release of the Huffman Stocker as one can only assume it was one of the #Ex-Corgi Castings released in the Summer of ’97.
Over the years, rookie downhill racers were bringing this to their local club meetings as there was a general consensus among Hot Wheels collectors that the Huffman Stocker was #Great for Gravity/Downhill Track due to its metal body & metal base and its short wheelbase. In an attempt to set the record straight, I took it to the diecast racing pros over at the redlinederby.com message boards. Board member, GspeedR confirmed the short wheelbase but also provided a few more interesting tidbits that only a repeated racer would know:
The “Huffman” is certainly a track legend although I don’t own an example that’s particularly fast. It’s a relatively narrow car with a short wheelbase and lots of mass (much of it above the axles) which isn’t necessarily a recipe for stability. (FWIW, the plastic-on-metal version of this casting has less issues w/stability albeit in a lighter package) But like most narrow castings, if you manage to find a good tracking example that rolls well it can be a bracket killer on almost any drag course.
So while there is a good recipe for this release to be fast, the Huffman Stocker is certainly a tease of sorts as the President of the Lincoln Johnny Lightning Race Club (Jeremy) likened this #Stocker to that of a bridesmaid:
We have been racing diecast cars of all brands since 2009 and we have raced several of the Huffman Stockers and not one has ever won it all. They are a pretty heavy casting and very nice looking but as we call them BRIDESMAIDS!
I definitely had a good chuckle at that one!
So while the Huffman Stocker may be a tease on the downhill track after all, its not to say its not a good racer. The general consensus seems to be that most of the elements of a good racer are there but the car simply does not perform as well as it should. FOTF said that:
This is one of those cars that CAN be fast, but rather rarely. They also sometimes might need time to loosen up to reach their full potential. I have one that’s somewhat-decent right now (though it wouldn’t really compete against my fastest HW Stock (non Funny Car/Redline) cars, and I once had one that seemed faster than this one (though it certainly isn’t anymore).
It seems as though this casting may have a very short lifespan as a good racer — a sweet spot of sorts. Out of the package it may not be the best nor is it when its over-worn, but rather its somewhere in the middle (of its racing life) that provides the best results.
Lastly, in my discussion over at redlinederby.com, I did have one user (Tracksurgeon) post something rather unique that I was previously unaware of:
This car has wheels and axles in which were made in China. The round parts of the wheels which touches the chassis is much longer unlike wheels made in other countries, increasing the car’s track width. The Mattel plant in China also galvanized their axles just like FTEs in the mid ’90s before getting rid of the method around 1998. They do perform better than FTEs the last time I used them on a few mods.
This is the first and only time I have heard of the Hot Wheels plant in China galvanizing the axles of the cars they produced in the mid ’90s. While it certainly is a small blip in the Hot Wheels production timeline, could this be true? It could explain why another #Ex-Corgi Casting in the Land Rover MkII Utility Truck commands a little bit of a premium in the Hot Wheels racing world. Either way, I’d like to thank the guys over at redlinederby.com for their insightful input into the world of the Huffman Stocker.
If you are (or aspire to be) a Hot Wheels / Diecast Racer, check out redlinederby.com. Its a great resource for all things related to racing your toy cars.